Monday, September 15, 2008

When Will We Learn?

I went to the Taiping Lake Garden again last night, because it was the night of the 15th day of the 8th month of lunar calender, the final night that we could play with lanterns and candles. After this date, we usually will not play lanterns anymore, until the same period comes around next year. I knew it would be even more people crowing the place compared to the previous nights, and I was right.
It felt like a party atmosphere there, and the good weather just make it a perfect time for a family outing.
Not only family made up most of the people there, because there were much more stalls set up on the second night. This time, they came with more proper equipments like white lights and tables, just like what you always see in pasar malam. It did not look like it was a Chinese event because even the Malays and Indians were selling paper lanterns and firecrackers at the stalls. I also spotted a few Malays and Indian around the area to join the fun.
Personally, I think that the local authorities should not allow the stalls being set up so close to the area people were playing with their lanterns, simply because the white lights just spoil the beautiful sight of colourful lanterns. Alternatively, they can set their stalls at some spot a little further from the skating ring.
As for the pictures, I guess I did better on the second night.
Hanging paper lanterns from the trees.
Four kids with their lanterns.
Colour paper surrounding candles lit on the floor.
Candles, candles, everywhere.
Fifteen-edge star, representing the 15th day perhaps?
Even the Peace Pole is not spared.
That however, is not the main point of this entry.
This is.
I was there this afternoon to have some pictures taken after the event last night, because I know it would be a great mess. I saw that yesterday evening while I was jogging through that spot and it looked like a tsunami just struck the place. Newspapers, candles, plastic bags, candles boxes, rubbish; you can see almost everything there.
When I thought I would get to see the same thing again this afternoon, the local city council workers have cleaned up the area. That is quite fast, but I was not really surprised because they really keep the lake garden clean all the time, which is one of the reason why is the dubbed as one of the most beautiful park in the country.
This is after they cleaned the area. The initial sight is ten times worse.
They are smart too, because they waited till the last day before they clean the place. They did not do any cleaning work the day before, perhaps because they know the place will be a mess again later that night.
Whatever it is, I am wondering, when will we have that civic awareness regarding this matter. Although I have been living in Japan for less than two years, I never see such thing happening there. They will make sure they leave the place just like how it was when they arrived. It is not that hard actually. I am not saying we should clean up other people's rubbish. Just make sure our place is clean when we leave and that doesn't sound like an impossible task to do, does it? Worst come to worst, just dump the rubbish at one spot, instead of leaving them scattering around the area.
My mum came out with an idea of erecting a signboard by the town council there to tell everyone to clean the place up after they have used it, but I guess it would just fall on deaf ears. Perhaps a reversed-psychology method will work better here, by putting up a signboard that reads, "I am stupid, that is why I am leaving all my rubbish here."
How can people skate with candles leftover like these?
There was still burnt paper lantern hanging form the tree.

The human brain, especially Malaysians, is rather complex and reacts in a certain manner, somewhat like the chain-reaction. When a person sees another person cleaning up the spot after an event, more often or not, they will follow suit. For once, the kiasu mentality can be practiced in a positive way. Conversely, when they see the rest of them who just cannot be bothered to keep the place clean, this thought would come into their mind, "If others just leave the place like that, why should I take all the trouble to clean my spot?"
However, we are talking about Malaysians, and it still look like an impossible mission.
But we can always change it, if we have the willingness.


Anonymous said...

it is just a simple question of attitude.. and people's attitude are based on the environment they are living in.. we shouldn't blame our school teachers and parents for not educating us in civic responsibilities, whatever we learned in school will quickly be forgotten with the "if other don't, why should i" mentality, and worst, the "if i don't throw rubbish the cleaner will be jobless" thinking.
we had tried heavy fining for people caught throwing rubbish, we had even introduced the "i'm a little bug" community work for offenders way back ago when i was still in primary school, but still it was a mission impossible to change malaysian's attitudes towards throwing rubbish, and it is a sad thing to think that it will still be one for a long long time.. as i do not see myself living in a clean malaysia in the future...

Endoru said...

Haha, the mess after playing lanterns, that also brings up a lot of memories.

calvin said...

@ bao cong:
"if i don't throw rubbish the cleaner will be jobless"

i love this line very much.

very true indeed, because we have grown up in a society with such mentality and it will be very hard for us to change it. however, if one person start the ball rolling, there will still be a difference, although it might not be a significant one :)

calvin said...

@ endoru:
i used to get scolded by my dad because we usually just leave the leftovers of the candle just like that on the floor =P

K3ViN said...

haiz.... this is malaysian style lor.... what can do nw?

calvin said...

@ k3vin:
yes, it is and it will be hard to change this bad attitude among the malaysians =/